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Borough stays local for building inspector

June 18, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Property owners in Waynesboro won't have to travel to Chambersburg, Pa., like their Washington Township counterparts, to obtain building permits after July 1, the day the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code takes effect.

Many Franklin County townships and boroughs have signed on with Commonwealth Code Inspection Service, (CCIS) a private inspection firm from Manheim, Pa., to handle the new state-required building inspections. The company has an office at 550 Cleveland Ave. in Chambersburg.

Most Franklin County homeowners, handymen, contractors and developers will have to physically go to CCIS's office to get building permits.

Not so for Waynesboro residents. This week, the Waynesboro Borough Council voted to contract with Accredited Services, a local company, to do its building inspections. The company is owned by Michael J. Cermak of Waynesboro. Cermak ran unsuccessfully for the borough council last year.

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Homeowners, contractors and anyone who builds, remodels or repairs buildings will be able to get building permits at Cermak Technologies, a computer store owned by Cermak's son at 52 W. Main St.

Cermak said someone will be on hand during specified hours at the store to issue building permits. The hours will be announced later, he said.

The setup is temporary. Cermak said he will establish a permanent office some time in the future.

The cost of inspections will be borne by building permit fees, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said. The fees brought in about $12,000 last year, he said.

Applications for building inspections are expected to increase in the future, Hamberger said.

A Chambersburg developer is proposing a townhouse project in the borough of more than 800 homes. Also, Hamberger said, "There's a lot of repair work going on in the borough."

Originally the borough was going to use Douglas Pyle, its building inspector, zoning officer and code enforcement officer, to do inspections under the new Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code. Pyle, who was certified to do them, resigned in May to take a job with a private company.

Inspectors must be certified in all forms of construction, from structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing to energy.

Pyle's salary with the borough was $32,000, Hamberger said.

The borough still has to hire someone to take over Pyle's duties as zoning officer and code enforcement officer, Hamberger said.

The job will pay "approximately $27,000," Hamberger said. It will be posted "in-house" first to give current borough employees a chance to apply, he said. If no one inside applies or is hired, the position will be advertised, he said.

The duties will include enforcement of borough codes involving such summary offenses as violations of weed and tree ordinances and those dealing with property nuisance issues among others, Hamberger said. The new employee will be authorized to issue citations, but won't have powers of arrest, he said.

"This will take some of the load off the police department," he said.

Applicants for building permits must first have a zoning permit to ensure that a project is "a proper use in a proper zone in a proper layout," he said.

The borough's fee structure for zoning permits is too low, Hamberger said. "We have to work on that," he said.

The council has scheduled a special meeting June 29 to consider its zoning fee structure, work out any remaining details with the new building inspection system and appoint a full-time fire chief.

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